Update #18 (April 24, 2020)

We’re sorry it has been over a month since we last did an update.  To be honest, these updates are getting harder to write.  We don’t find it easy to share our personal lives (especially the hard times) with so many in a way like this.  But we also know there are many who appreciate the updates … so here’s another one.

Chemo Rounds 9 and 10

I have had two rounds of chemo since the last update.  Round 9 was March 27 and Round 10 was this past Friday (April 17).  It has been a difficult week, with many of the side effects being worse than previous rounds.  I was hardly able to get out of bed for the 4 days after chemo and felt pretty rotten.  It’s challenging on these days to lay in bed, with family life just going on around me.  I feel sad that I can’t be the wife, mother, sister and friend that I used to be.  I have always loved being busy and productive, in God’s service, and some days life almost seems “empty” because these things have been stripped away.  This is hard for me and sometimes I feel like this trial is too hard to bear.  But we have found strength in our loving God.  He has given us courage and purpose on those days where we feel like giving up the will to fight.

The side effects are perhaps worse this time round as I had an allergic reaction to the chemo on Friday.  I was only about 30 minutes into the treatment when my hands started getting really itchy and red, my face was puffy, red and blotchy and I had a funny sensation in my throat.  The nurse quickly jumped into action and stopped the infusion, called the ER doctor down and placed a call with the Cancer Centre in Sudbury.  They gave me Benadryl via IV and were then given the go-ahead to proceed with the infusion, but over a longer period of time.  It meant I was at the hospital for most of the day (9am to 5.30pm) … a long and tiring day, on my own.

Apparently it is not unusual to react to the treatment … but it does seem odd it took until round 10 to have a reaction? Maybe it is my body’s way of saying “enough”.  We are going to talk to my oncologist at my next appointment about taking a “chemo holiday” for a while.  It seems like my body can’t handle much more … 10 rounds of chemo and 15 radiation sessions.  The oncologist has mentioned a break at some point and originally I wanted to try and make it to the summer to have a break … but not sure I can wait that long now.  We will see what the oncologist has to say.

A Plan that Didn’t Go to Plan

Poor Dass had arranged for various people to come down throughout the day with painted signs to cheer me up through the hospital window.  Because of social distancing, I am not allowed to have anyone come to the hospital with me.  But we didn’t realise that the chemo room had been moved from its usual place (which had a really big window you could see out) to a room at the back of the hospital that has a small window, which wasn’t accessible to the public ☹  What a disappointment!  Most of the families were still able to send through photos and videos of their signs, or drop the signs at our house, so when I came home from the hospital, they were all up around the place.  Very cheery, especially after a long day.  Thanks so much to all those who did a sign.

Blessings CD Project

THANK YOU so much to all those who contributed to the Blessings CD Project last month.  I have listened to it over and over again … and it brings so much joy.  Yet another amazing idea some dear friends pulled together, with many people from different parts of the world contributing.  They compiled a number of thoughts, verses and songs based on Psalm 34.  The songs and narrations are all sung and read by people dear to us, which makes it extra special.  The social distancing rules now in place almost stopped people from contributing … they had to think of creative ways to record some of the songs that involved multiple people.  Thank you!

Social Isolation

We continue to be in lockdown here on Manitoulin.  Life doesn’t seem to be any slower though – not sure what we are doing wrong?  You would think with 4 adults around here, we could manage better!  Schools are still closed and our 3 boys are now doing school work from home.  Online work is being sent each day from the teachers.  It’s supposed to be about an hour of work a day.   It seemed like more than an hour, especially when we first started … I guess it all took time to learn how to use the new platforms and programs!  I think we are starting to get into more of a routine, although it has been a bit challenging the past few days with me not feeling well at all.  Most of the schooling has fallen to Dan this week.

Dan is off work right now – which is a blessing in a lot of ways.  I’m very thankful for the extra help around the house … and to have more time together.  Dan’s work is still going with limited operations, but he has been laid off because of limited work there … and also to reduce the risk of me being exposed to something.  Dan’s boss also realizes that he needs to help out with the boys while they are off school, especially during the hard weeks after my treatments.

This journey has also been hard on Dan too.  He is pulled in so many directions some days!  It can be hard to watch someone that you love suffer and feeling helpless to know how to help.  It can also be challenging to cope with how life has changed so much.  Some weeks Dan now has to deal with the general “running” and daily routines of the house … something which he is not used to as I’ve always been a stay-at-home Mum!  And because of all the coronavirus things going on right now, he is the only one in the house going to public places (except for my medical appointments).  So that now means he is doing all the grocery shopping, runs to the bank, post office, pharmacy etc.  Not that these are difficult things … it’s just a change to get used to and something else for him to do.

We still have Dan’s parents living with us.  They came to visit and help out last month and ended up staying longer.  It is probably a bit “safer” up here than the big city of Toronto.  We are truly thankful for their help around the house … we couldn’t survive without them!

Radiation and Back Pain

I mentioned in our last update that I had five days of radiation on my back, right before round 9 of chemo.  Unfortunately the radiation hasn’t helped with the pain … I still have constant pain in my upper back and neck.  Doctors seem quick to subscribe stronger pain killers, but they all come with their own side effects.  It’s about trying to balance the pain and the side effects.

Thanks to everyone for your continued prayers, love and support.  We really do long for the time when Christ will bring true peace and healing to this very broken world.  We see the world in chaos and fear right now … struggling to know what to do.  It’s at times like that that we are thankful for the HOPE of the Kingdom.  We need our Healer to come and make things right.

“Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing
of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”
Titus 2v13